Some of the information for this report from an Arizona Interscholastic Association press release.
The Executive Board of the Arizona Interscholastic Association has called a special meeting Wednesday to discuss information shared in previous AIA committee meetings in accordance with Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive action to delay the start of in-person schooling.
All discussions are based on the timeline schools will reopen to students on Aug. 17, the date set by Ducey. Any and all plans can change if the timeline shifts.
Preliminary plans by AIA are in place to finish all fall sports seasons on time and in full with modifications. Some of these ideas, among others, will be taken to the leadership of each conference as decisions would need to be made for who would qualify for the postseason and how many schools per sport.
These are only preliminary outlines (nothing is finalized yet):
- Football – For 2A-6A, an 8-10 game schedule can be achieved by starting competition on the week of Sept. 7. The current playoff structure may have to be adjusted after input from the membership. 1A football is currently looking at modifications, if necessary.
- The remainder of the fall sports can be adjusted slightly to possibly ensure complete regular seasons.
- It is possible that regular season invitationals and tournaments may be limited or cancelled due to venue allowances and other restrictions.
- Below are the estimated starting dates for competition:
- Golf – Aug. 24
- Badminton – Aug. 31
- All other fall sports including football – week of Sept. 7. Football games may be scheduled that Thursday or Friday (Sept. 10 or 11).
AIA Executive Director David Hines met with the Arizona Department of Health Services recently to address return to school and return to play protocols. The health department is in favor of the AIA’s guidelines for return to sport and activity as recommended by the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. It is considered a document closely aligned with the health department’s own guidelines. The AIA and the Executive Board continue to promote these guidelines for schools to follow in preparation for the fall.
Even though many school districts have elected to begin their school year virtually prior to the governor’s target date of in-person reopening of Aug. 17, it is that date which has been identified as the start of the AIA fall season. Until then, all schools must operate under summer rules as per the AIA handbook.
If a school determines that it cannot operate a fall sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AIA will respect that decision. Fees and penalties are waived for cancellations that are due directly to the pandemic. The AIA will also help the schools losing contests find new ones to fill out schedules.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.